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Bar Rules with Beth Dixon

Cocktails, ConversationBICS Admin

I’ve you’ve been drinking cocktails in Richmond long enough, chances are Beth Dixon has poured one for you. She’s been behind the bar at some of the best spots in town, and is currently wowing diners at Pasture.

Today, Beth shares some tips for all the aspiring home mixologists our there or anyone who enjoys a well-made drink.

Rule 1: Keep it Simple

Aside from your basic spirit-and-mixer-over-ice cocktail, which I love, a “craft cocktail” follows a basic formula: 1.5 oz of base spirit, 1/2 oz of flavoring agent (such as Vermouth or Amaro), and 1/2 ounce of acid, usually in the form of citrus juice.

Rule 2: Seek Balance

Drinks can be sweet, sour, bitter, boozy, spicy… the important thing is to make sure your cocktail doesn’t tip too far into one of these flavors when you’re adding ingredients. A drink that’s too anything isn’t one you’re likely to enjoy.

Rule 3: Practice Makes Perfect

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Most recipes need to be refined until you get them right. Take notes of each version you make so you can continue to tweak your mix until you get it exactly how you want it.

Rule 4: Avoid The Bottom Shelf

Your cocktail is only as good as what it’s built on. Going right for the cheapest stuff will almost guarantee you won’t get the results you want (unless what you want is a headache). Stick to brands in the $15-30 range per 750 mL.

Beth’s Home Bar Essentials

  • 1 liter each
    • Neutral Grain Spirit
    • Gin
    • Rum
    • Tequila
    • Rye (for classic cocktails).
    • A nice bottle of bourbon on hand for sipping.
  • Campari
  • St. Germain (aka bartender’s ketchup)
  • Vermouth Sweet and Dry (either Carpano Antica or Ransome)
  • Bitters (Angostura, Peychaud's, Orange)